Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

I have already expressed my love for diced baked sweet potatoes. When I found this recipe on Instagram¬†I tagged my sister because I thought she would like it. I also added it to my virtual menu ideas list but hadn’t made it yet. On Monday I got an email from my sister saying that she had tried “it was¬†DELICIOUS” (the all caps are from her!).

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

It just so happened that we had been invited to a dinner at our neighbors house the next night and I needed something to bring. Hello this!

Side note about the dinner: some Navy Seals live across the street from us and 2 of them are going on deployment to South Africa next month. They hosted a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years event since they won’t be back until after the first of the year. The event was complete with:

  • Halloween candy bowls which included mini airplane liquor bottles. I joked that Hudson wasn’t allowed to treat or treat at their house!
  • a full on Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, ham and all the sides
  • Christmas garland, lights, Christmas music playing and Elf on the Shelf AND
  • New Years party hats and champagne

Such a fun idea to also do with family or friends that you can’t spend every holiday with.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Since I have all of the ingredients and only got a small bite yesterday, I think I’m going to make more for dinner!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

  • about 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 jumbo), washed, peeled, and cut¬†into 1-inch¬†pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (or sub 2-3 tablespoons of chopped chives)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen that I allowed to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, minced (about half of 1 bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (lime juice may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with a¬†Silpat¬†or spray with cooking spray and add the sweet potatoes in an even, flat layer. Evenly drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until fork-tender and done. Halfway through baking flip potatoes to ensure even cooking. Baking time will vary based on size of potatoes, oven and climate variances, and I recommend starting to check at 30 minutes for doneness. While potatoes bake, prep and chop the remaining ingredients.
  • To a large bowl, add the black beans, green onions, red pepper, corn, cilantro; set aside.
  • To a large measuring cup or small bowl, add the honey, dijon mustard, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine; set aside.
  • After potatoes are cooked, add them to the bowl with the beans and vegetables, add the sauce and toss to combine. Taste, check for seasoning balance (add more salt, pepper, touch of honey, lemon juice, etc.), make any necessary tweaks and serve.
  • Potato salad can be served warm, at room temp, or chilled and will keep airtight in the fridge.

Recipe from Averie Cooks

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Chopped Taco Salad

My mom used to make a version of this salad when we were kids. I remember there being enough salad that an entire bag of crushed Doritos was mixed in! I think there was also most of a bottle of ranch dressing involved. I substituted a handful of Late July organic tortilla chips. Mom would approve of this version nowadays versus the dusty orange, chemical laden Doritos of the past.

Late July chips

Confession: I hid the rest of the bag of chips from my teenage son, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen them again!

chopped taco salad

Served in front of the tv while watching the movie Fury with a side of pickled jalapenos.

Chopped Taco Salad

What it took for 2 nice sized servings:

  • 8 ounces ground sirloin
  • heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • shredded cheddar cheese, (didn’t measure about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced (in the summer I have used chives)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 12-15 nacho chips, crushed
  • Newman’s Own organic ranch dressing¬† (didn’t measure about 1/4 cup)
  • pickled jalapenos
  • cilantro is amazing in this salad but I didn’t have any

Method

  • Cook ground sirloin until well done and drain. Stir in taco seasoning along with a couple tablespoons of water. After the water has evaporated turn off and remove from heat to cool slightly.
  • In the meantime start preparing the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Start with the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, avocado…then squeeze the lime juice over the avocado (for amazing flavor and to keep the color fresh), crush the tortillas over the salad, add the slightly cooled meat, drizzle with the ranch dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

layering the taco salad

 

Beet Salad with Arugula, Blue Cheese and Walnuts

It’s Sunday! I enjoyed some coconut yogurt with blueberries, topped with homemade granola for breakfast. My sister Angela made me a bag of granola for Christmas and then I also scored my Mom’s bag because she left without hers!! Woot!! Travis and the dogs when for a little ride on the skiff while I took a shower. Soon we are headed to Cape Henry Lighthouse to take advantage of the beautiful 60+ degree December weather before it rains later today. Tonight will be a shows and movies lazy night and I can’t wait!

I¬†was¬†prompted by my sister Zandria¬†to get on my blog and share a recipe that I made for Thanksgiving…and have made many times before. She asked me for the recipe (because it’s so awesome!) and made it for her husbands family for Christmas.

Sometimes I make this salad with golden beets, regular red beets or a mix of both. These beets can easily be found at Whole Foods any time of year. I wash and cook the beet greens too. They are awesome with a little red wine vinegar. I’ve also had candy cane beets and white beets from the farmers market but of course they are only available seasonally.¬†¬†They are worth the time to make them ahead of time before serving so that they can have a chance to chill.

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

  • 2 bunches of beets (3-5 beets per bunch)
  • baby arugula or mixed baby greens
  • walnuts
  • crumbled blue cheese
  • Newman’s Own Oil and Vinegar dressing

for the Beets: 

I shop at Whole Foods and their beets come 3-5 beets to a bundle (depending on size) and include the greens. First chop the beet stems off at the top of the beet, cut the long skinny end off of the root end (if any) and cut the beet in half or quarters depending on their size. No need to peel the beets. Put them in a pot and fill with water at least an inch over the beets (they cook for way longer than potatoes and you don’t want to water to evaporate before they are cooked…this has happened to me before!).
Test done-ness with a fork. When done drain into a colander and let cool for about 15 minutes. When they are cool enough to touch you can peel them by just pushing the skins off with your fingers. Then I put them in a container to cool completely in the fridge because I think they taste better cold. They can be made the day before.
to assemble Salad:
In a large salad bowl add baby arugula, beets, chopped walnuts and either crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese. I have made my own dressing before (lemon or a balsamic vinaigrette) but on Thanksgiving I used Newman’s Own Oil and Vinegar dressing. Toss salad and serve! Serves 3-4 people.

Eating Lately

Lunches:

Quinoa tossed with leftover black bean salsa (no one was eating it WTH!) and topped with shredded cheddar. This was lunch for 2 days.

mex quinoa bake

 

Chipotle!! A burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, sofritas and all the fixin’s. I was working in Richmond and my nephew had a dentist appointment around 1:30 near where I was so my sister Angela agreed to meet me here for lunch before his appointment. So fun!

Had a lunch meeting with another colleague and they brought in Olive Garden. I hadn’t eaten their salad and bread-sticks in forever!

Scrambled eggs, with tomato, onion and spinach and then topped with sliced avocado.

Dinners:

Stuffed red peppers: brown rice, cooked crumbled ground sirloin, spices, chopped almonds, jalapeno and cheese. I’m leaving something out but it’s ok. Maybe I’ll post the recipe soon. They got rave reviews from my guys.

Grilled flat iron steak and a salad with chopped romaine, cucumbers, onion, feta and Newman’s Own oil/vinegar dressing.

Shrimp and grits. Roasted brussel sprouts.

Ate out at Froggies Cantina during their open mic night. I had crab legs and a side of green beans. A few stolen bites of mac-n-cheese may have happened ūüôā

Grilled fish (that we caught!). Orzo with sauteed mushrooms and a bit of melted brie. Sauteed zucchini and onions.

Pan seared chicken breast with a roll. Carrots and cucumbers.

Since I don’t have pics of the food I ate, I’ll share one of the fish we caught!

fishing

 

Weekly Eats

The latest installment of my week in food:

Sunday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, cherries, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond butter

Lunch: salad with spinach and mixed greens, cucumber, goat cheese, leftover chicken thighs and balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad with chicken

Dinner: Seared salmon, zucchini “noodles” and a little side of kimchi.

Monday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, cherries, strawberries, banana, cinnamon, flax seeds and almond butter

smoothie

Lunch: Leftover zucchini “noodles” topped with black beans, a fried egg and served with salsa, cheese and sour cream

Dinner: Pasture – I had the seafood stew

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, raspberries, blueberries, banana, flax seeds and almond butter

Lunch: a big bowl of pho at Haiku 

Dinner: Chicken-tortilla-soup aka my favorite soup ever-ever. 

Wednesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, banana, blueberries, cinnamon, chia seeds and almond butter

Lunch: Leftover soup

Dinner: shrimp and quinoa “salad” and steamed fresh green beans…”steamed” by me…not the “steam fresh” brand…whatever

Thursday

Breakfast: granola bowls with plain greek yogurt, strawberries, blackberries and granola

Lunch: chicken salad and marinated cucumbers from

Dinner: Edo’s Squid – seared tuna (rare) and garlic noodles

Friday

Breakfast: granola bowls with Noosa “tart cherry” yogurt, strawberries, blackberries and granola

breakfast

Lunch: odds and ends from the salad bar at Whole Food

Dinner: Grilled london broil (Travis picked it up and it was not very good to me…he liked it though) and roasted cauliflower. I also ate some pita chips and edamame hummus while waiting for the charcoal.

Saturday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, cinnamon and peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover soup

Dinner: Stuzzi pizza РI had the vegetariana

Weekly Eats

The latest installment of my week in food:

Sunday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana and organic peanut butter

Lunch: a chicken burrito (rice/black beans/salsa/cheese) with guacamole from Alamo

Dinner: We heated up the grill – charcoal style – and enjoyed a filet. Served with soba noodles tossed with sauteed zucchini, sliced green onions, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice. Kimchi on the side!

Monday

Breakfast: granola bowls with vanilla agave yogurt, strawberries and blueberries

Lunch: Leftover soba noodles and a few slices of leftover steak

Dinner: Homemade pizza with broccoli, shallots and lots-O-mozz cheese

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, banana, chia seeds and organic sunflower seed butter

Lunch: I visited my sister Angela and my nephews for the day. We always have lunch together when I visit so I came prepared with some leftover pizza dough, an avocado, a lemon and some cheese. I had the idea to pre-bake the crust with a little olive oil, mash the avocado with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and then top it with a little cheese. My sister had a roma tomato so we decided to add that in. My nephews both LOVE tomatoes….errr “manos”….that’s their pronunciation!

Here’s the crust getting smeared with avocado…

pizza

…and with all the toppings. After this step we baked it for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese…and then there were no more pics because we devoured it!

pizza with avocado, tomato and cheese

Dinner: We were invited to our friends Ashley and Cade’s house for dinner. They started a fire in the fire pit and got their charcoal grill going. Soon they were cooking up salmon fillets and roasting romaine which had been drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. There was also some warm rosemary bread to go with it. It was too delicious and too much fun for a standard Tuesday night! I a-l-m-o-s-t felt guilty!

Wednesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, banana, cinnamon and organic sunflower seed butter

Lunch: Leftover cold soba noodles, steamed broccoli and a fried egg

cold soba noodles, broccoli and fried egg

Dinner: Maple Dijon Chicken and spinach & mixed greens salad with diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, walnuts, chunks of brie and lemon vinaigrette

salad

Thursday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, cinnamon, ginger, flax seeds and sliced almonds

Lunch: a vegetarian burrito bowl with guacamole from Chipotle (it’s been forever since I had one of those!)

Dinner: grilled skirt steak, smashed potatoes and the same type of salad we had yesterday (minus the walnuts because I didn’t have any more)

Friday

Breakfast: granola bowls with vanilla greek yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple…and GRANOLA hello!

Lunch: My fiance’s grandfather passed away this week. At 96 his funeral today was a celebration of his life. I will miss his wit and charm. He couldn’t hear yet refused to wear a hearing aid and this caused endless laughs with his misunderstandings what he thought he heard. Though I believe sometimes he was just playing. For a long time he has called me his daughter-in-law even though I’m engaged to his grandson (doesn’t that make me his grandaughter-in law?). Every time we visited he asked Travis, “when are you going to marry that girl? If I was 50 years younger I’d do it for you.” You couldn’t visit Walter Haney Carper without leaving with a smile on your face! Today I snacked for lunch: ham, a deviled egg, a little pasta salad, fruit and 2 small cookies

Dinner: Back over to Ashley and Cade’s house. She made these incredible bowls with slices of pork loin, broth, sliced cabbage, carrots, avocado and cilantro. It was a little like pho without the noodles.

Saturday

Breakfast:¬†granola bowls with vanilla greek yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana…

granola bowl

Lunch:¬†black beans, avocado, cheese and Mother in Law’s kimchi

Lunch: black beans, avocado, cheese and kimchi

Dinner: Mom’s Siam¬†for some thai food on the patio. I had a dish with watercress, ginger, broccoli, green beans and shrimp. Super yum!

Sweet Potato, Walnut and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

quinoa and sweet potatoes

It’s snowing here and I’m ready for summer. Not gonna happen soon enough for me! Snow just makes you tired! Here’s proof…my fiance got off work, ate dinner and immediately fell asleep. This does-not-happen-ever when the weather is warm. Snow is the devil! ūüôā

Travis and Randolph

At least quinoa can be amazing when everything else is dreary. Really, quinoa can be better than dessert. Well…ok…now you have lost faith and don’t believe me. Anyone there???

Sweet Potato, Walnut and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

Sweet Potato, Walnut and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

Sweet Potato, Walnut and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock (or water, veg stock etc)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1-2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  • Add water or chicken broth, quinoa and diced sweet potato¬†to a small pot and bring to boil. Lower temp and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, checking periodically, until all water/broth is absorbed and quinoa has cooked.
  • Add cooked quinoa to a serving bowl and stir to fluff. Add walnuts and dressing and stir to combine. Top with goat cheese and a fresh ground pepper.